Food & Drink

Where to Eat Brunch, According to Dallas' Top Chefs

Published On 09/22/2015 Published On 09/22/2015
Courtesy of Kevin Marple

Typically, most of us looking for great brunch recommendations will simply ask a friend or coworker -- but have you ever thought of asking your friendly local chef? We did, querying Dallas’ best chefs to find out where they like to hunker down for weekend breakfast. Every well-known brunch gem is represented among these 16 restaurants, as are a couple of spots you may not have thought of to kick off your weekend dining.

Blue Mesa Grill

Chef Tony Street of Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse

His pick: Blue Mesa Grill (address and info)
Multiple locations
The Downtown meat master enjoys digging into this popular Southwestern chainlet’s gigantic buffet. “There is something about eggs, chilies, and tortillas that wakes up the senses,” Street says. The menu reminds him of his years in Acapulco, particularly the chilaquiles, but his absolute favorite item on the buffet is the chicken-cheese-and-pepper-tastic Adobe Pie. This spot is super packed for brunch, so arrive early or late to try to avoid the throngs.

Courtesy of Kevin Marple

Chef Braden Wages of Malai Kitchen

His pick: Stock & Barrel (address and info)
Oak Cliff
The chef-owner of West Village’s Southeast Asian eatery and his co-owner wife Yasmin go for American fare come brunch time, at Oak Cliff’s Stock & Barrel. He says, “[Chef] Jon Stevens is a great chef who really knows the meaning of comfort food.” Wages says his go-to is the meatloaf burger, “the perfect mix of rejuvenating soul food and brunch gluttony.” Other popular entrees include fried spicy spaghetti and cheddar grits topped with eggs.

Courtesy of Alison McLean

Chef Richard Blankenship of CBD Provisions

His pick: Kirin Court (address and info)
Much like every other chef on this list, Blankenship reports rarely having time to take in brunch, but when he does, he heads to Kirin Court for the Richardson restaurant’s famed dim sum. Some of his favorite bites to pick from among the roving carts are shrimp dumplings and BBQ pork buns, though he says he never fails to find something new to fawn over every visit. 

Courtesy of The Grape

Chef Danyele McPherson of Remedy

Her pick: The Grape (address and info)
Lower Greenville
Yes, the Lower Greenville chef selected her former workplace, but The Grape certainly deserves the props. Just try to get in sans reservations on a Sunday to see how rabidly popular the bistro is. McPherson loves the brunch vibe there, but also “everything on the menu is decidedly craveable. The chicken biscuit goes hard: fried chicken, cheddar cheese, and honey butter on a couple jalapeño-cheese biscuits... delicious.” Another must-order entrée is the bacon cheeseburger, only available at brunch and crowned the best in the state.

Braindead Brewing 

Chef Brad Phillips of Asador Restaurant

His pick: BrainDead Brewing (address and info)
Deep Ellum
The new Deep Ellum brewery launched brunch over in late summer, right in Philips’ neighborhood, which was all kinds of convenient for him. “I've been there a few times before for their beer and really good apps but never for brunch,” the modern American cuisine master notes. The brewpub’s biscuits and gravy, accompanied by a bacon flight (!) fit the bill for him, and sent him home happy: “I had the most amazing nap after!” Philips says.

Courtesy of Kevin Marple

Chef Kent Rathbun of Abacus/Jasper’s/Hickory

His pick: Meso Maya (address and info)
Arts District, Preston Hollow
“Who doesn't like food from South of the border after a good Saturday night?” the Iron Chef alum asks. Rathbun says he lands at the regional Mexican chainlet Meso Maya for brunch fairly frequently.  “I love their handmade tortillas, their top-shelf margarita... and then their Pollo Budin Azteca, which is white corn tortillas layered with melted Chihuahua cheese, Monterrey Jack, queso asadero, sauteed white chicken, black beans, arugula, queso fresco, and roasted creamy tomatillo sauce.” Going in for seconds on cocktails here? Definitely order up an avocado margarita, one of the best iterations of the drink you can find.

Courtesy of Brewed

Chef Marcus Paslay of Clay Pigeon Food and Drink

His pick: Brewed (address and info)
Fort Worth
Fort Worth chef Paslay keeps things local when it’s time for brunch, becoming a recent fan of “hip and trendy” café Brewed. “It’s great for a late Sunday morning brunch. They have an extensive selection of anything brewed: coffees, teas, and beer, and they use locally sourced Avoca coffee, which is what we serve at Clay Pigeon Food and Drink.” On a recent meal there, he dug into some drip coffee, the fried egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich on sourdough, and a serving of duck-fat fries, which he calls “the perfect hangover cure.” The chicken and waffles here are also mighty popular.

Courtesy of Jimmy Ngo

Chef Richard Graff of Meddlesome Moth

His pick: Lucky’s Café (address and info)
Oak Lawn
Since becoming and empty-nester and moving with his wife from North Dallas to Oak Lawn, the gastropub chef’s favorite brunch spot has become old-school diner Lucky’s Café. “The staff is friendly and fun, the chef is using local Texas ingredients, and they have a killer, perfectly caramelized brioche French toast that they serve with Maker's Mark maple syrup.” Classic omelets of all varieties are a hit here, too. And Graff shares a little pro tip: “Get there before 10am, and you won't have to wait too long for a table.”

Courtesy of Kevin Marple

Erin McKool of Start: Real Food Fast

Her pick: La Duni (address and info)
Multiple locations
The owner and recipe crafter for the healthy fast-food joint loves the comforting Latin American eats at La Duni once the weekend hits, and she can’t get enough of one particular order. “My friend Amy and I meet about every other Saturday... and we order the exact same thing for brunch: huevos rancheros with both red and green sauces, the steak medallion cooked medium-rare, and Duni’s amazing Bloody Mary.” La Duni is also noted for its fabulous coffee, extensive pastry selection, and eggy plates like migas and brunch chiles rellenos.


Chef Anthony Van Camp of Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre

His pick: Bolsa (address and info)
Oak Cliff
We couldn’t express Bolsa’s rise to the upper echelon of the brunch heap better than Chef AVC, soooo: “It was the bomb, like, eight years ago, kinda fell off as being the bomb, but this year, they’ve really stepped it back up. The new chef is super legit.” Indeed, Chef Joel Harrington has brought a new zeal to the farm-to-table menu, with brunch highlights including a bacon-and-egg-topped burger, biscuits and chorizo gravy, an iron skillet quiche, and BBQ-roasted pork belly.

Courtesy of Jimmy Ngo

Chefs Dennis Kelley and Melody Bishop of LARK on the Park

Their pick: Smoke (address and info)
Oak Cliff, Plano
As a couple, parents of a small child, and the chefs generally in the kitchen for brunch, Kelley and Bishop don’t hit the brunch scene very often. When they do, chances are you’ll find them at the modern smokehouse aptly named Smoke. “We love the inventive dishes and great drinks at Smoke. Add a mimosa or a glass of wine and it’s the perfect way to brunch,” the two agree. Among the blockbuster dishes at this super-popular weekend spot are the Heavy Handed blueberry and ricotta cheese pancakes and the coffee-cured brisket.

Courtesy of Luscher’s Red Hots

Chef Brian C. Luscher of The Grape/Luscher’s Red Hots

His pick: The Fatted Calf (address and info)
This enterprising chef goes for a bit of a drive come brunch time, noting “Chef Ted [Grieb] has got everything I want in a brunch menu: great sweets, high-quality local eggs and beef (the steak and eggs hits the spot), a nice variety of lunch items.” His favorite plate on the lunch menu? The chicken-fried steak with poblano gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn. Luscher also lauds the eatery’s “great, friendly, welcoming service staff, completely reasonable pricing, and full bar.”

Courtesy of Crossroads Diner

Chef David Holben of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

His pick: Crossroads Diner (address and info)
North Dallas
The steakhouse maestro uses plenty of superlatives to describe his feelings for this old-fashioned diner, highlighting “the best pancakes and homemade breakfast sausage in town. I love the daily specials.” Thanks to its comfy-cozy setting and a welcoming staff and vibe, Holben extols Crossroads as “the place you want to take your family and friends. My first choice by far.” Another warm and fluffy menu classic are the sticky buns for which the restaurant has won rave reviews.

Courtesy of Scott Mitchell

Chef Blythe Beck of Pink Magnolia

Her pick: The Local Oak (address and info)
Oak Cliff
“I love Local Oak!” says the self-proclaimed Naughty Chef. And now that she’s set roots in her own new Southern-flavored spot down the street, brunch-time visits should be a breeze. “I am obsessed with their Frito pie and their Wild Orchard cocktail. They are great neighbors and super fun,” she says, adding, “by the way, they call it ‘Blunch.’ They are funny, too.”

Courtesy of FOX Television

Chef Roe DiLeo of Henry’s Majestic

Her pick: Boulevardier (address and info)
Bishop Arts District
The kitchen leader and Hell’s Kitchen alum has gotten her share of heat, both at the local gastropub and on TV, so when she’s out of her chef whites, she loves to brunch at Oak Cliff’s French-inspired Boulevardier, “not only for its amazing food, but the cocktails and staff are on point!” she raves. As for her go-to dish, she has a specific pairing: “My favorite dish is hash Boulevardier. The oyster mushrooms, the sage maple sausage, and black pepper hollandaise are just amazing together. My favorite drink at brunch is their Raised and Infused; I’m a gin fan, and it’s very balanced and refreshing.”

Courtesy of Le Taco Cantina

Chef Daniel Tarasevich of Le Taco Cantina

His pick: The Standard Pour (address and info)
Who among us doesn’t love a brunch that’s equally tasty and boozy? Tarasevich is no exception and loves the eats and sips at this McKinney Ave hotspot equally. His ideal plate is the breakfast sandwich: “This sandwich has Nueske’s bacon, smoked ham, scrambled egg, avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese, all on a croissant and, let me tell you, it’s fantastic!” The chef also digs TSP’s neighborly vibe and notes "their $5 cocktails deliver exactly what I'm looking for.” Other brunch menu delights include the chicken biscuit, fried quail and waffles, and warm donuts.
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Farah Fleurima is a Dallas-based word wrangler who loves her gin and tonics as crisp as her bacon. As a professional food stalker and beer/cocktail/straight-liquor tippler, she loves to write not just about her culinary conquests, but also her frequent travels. You can check out more of her musings at

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1. Blue Mesa Grill 14866 Montfort Dr, Addison, TX 75225 (Addison)

The original location (well, across the street from the original original location) of the Dallas resto that now has 6 total spots, Blue Mesa serves up Tex-Mex deliciousness from flights of queso to Blue Mesa Churrascaritas (skewers!).

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2. Stock & Barrel 316 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208 (Bishop Arts Dist)

Stock and Barrel is a hip American-cuisine destination with a neighborly feel, and an entire section of its menu dedicated to French fries. Order offerings such as crushed Yukons with Parmesan and smoked paprika mayo, or try out the meats, seafood, and sides coming out of the wood-fired grill.

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3. Kirin Court 221 W Polk St Ste 200, Richardson, TX 75081

Come to this consistently packed Chinese eatery for their famed dim sum; bite size offerings range from shrimp dumplings, BBQ pork buns, and hot and sour soup, in addition to vegan options.

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4. The Grape 2808 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206 (Lower Greenville)

Helmed by Chef/Owner Brian Luscher (of Luscher's Red Hots fame), The Grape was originally opened in 1972 and has served approachable, European influenced fare at affordable prices ever since. The menu changes monthly, though, so the Grape never feels stodgy or old-guard. The charming, bistro-like interior and homestyle fare (blueberry pancakes, shrimp and grits) make The Grape a great brunch option

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5. Braindead Brewing 2625 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226 (Deep Ellum)

Aside from a killer tap list, the fine folks at Braindead have churned out the Coma Burger, with a brisket/bacon/Wagyu sirloin patty, sweet onion jam, smoked cheddar, crispy shallots, and stout mustard -- which is drawing considerable attention. Add in some outstanding queso and the warm cookies they make with spent grains/serve up with milk, and you should have no trouble sleeping.

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6. Meso Maya 11909 Preston Rd, Dallas, TX 75230 (North Dallas)

This North Dallas Mexican establishment three unique rooms, a 20ft bar and high-end meals that don't break the bank, including the Queso Poblano, which has melted Chihuahua cheese, creamy queso blanco, roasted poblanos, fresh corn, and nopalitos.

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7. Brewed 801 W Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76104 (Fort Worth)

Lined with bricks salvaged from a 100-year-old Chi-town warehouse, Brewed's eclectic mix of barnwood-supported concrete counters, couches, and bookshelves serve as a home-y background for classic Southern breakfasts of chicken biscuits and pillowy waffles with Cuvee coffee. The same goes for lunch time, when 60 kinda of Texas crafts make the rounds with truffle and chipotle deviled eggs, mussels, and roasted chicken.

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8. Lucky's Cafe 3531 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

Lucky, indeed: most everything at this greasy spoon is covered in cheese. A grilled cheese with onions, tomatoes, green chillies, bacon, cheddar, Swiss? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

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9. La Duni Latin Kitchen & Coffee Studio 4264 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219-2312 (Oak Lawn)

Perfectly blending the European and Latin American traditions, La Duni is definitely the only place in Dallas where you can start off with a Pastel Gloria (a Danish-style pastry) and finish with the Asado Brasilero (seared picanha steak with chimichurri salsas). Plus, all of their pastries are baked in house and they've got killer cocktails and coffee.

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10. Bolsa 614 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208 (Oak Cliff)

Located in the historic Settles Garage, Bolsa offers up a menu of American cuisine for brunch and dinner. The longstanding spot scores with creative cocktails you can't get anywhere else, like the The Shepherd with Mount Gay Extra Old, arugula, goats milk yogurt syrup, and lime. A covered outdoor patio with heat lamps makes it a solid spot to camp out even when the weather gets a bit nippy.

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11. Smoke 2408 Preston Rd, Plano, TX 75093 (Plano)

The eclectic Southwestern decor and back patio at Smoke makes diners feel less like they're outside a strip mall in West Plano and more like they're in a adobe home in New Mexico. Quiet suburban crowds gather on the multicolored seating for brunch, lunch, and dinner and leave with loosened belts because they've stuffed themselves to the brim with Latin-inspired and Southwestern fare like bbq spare ribs, coffee-cured brisket, and grilled quail prepared by James Beard Award-winning Tim Byres.

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12. The Fatted Calf 112 E Rusk St, Rockwall, TX 75087

Lauded for "great, friendly, welcoming service staff, completely reasonable pricing and full bar," the Fatted Calf serves up southern-inspired American food in a casual atmosphere.

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13. Crossroads Diner 8121 Walnut Hill Ln., Dallas, TX 75231 (North Dallas)

Two Lombardi Mare chefs have opened a mezzanine-equipped, wood-accented, many-windowed grub warehouse that kicks off with from-scratch pancakes, waffles, and TX-pecan & caramel-loaded sticky buns, then moves on to tweaked greasy-spoon classics like carame

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14. The Local Oak 409 N Zang Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208

This restaurant offers a mix of Cajun- and Mexican-inspired comfort food and a full bar serving up beer, craft cocktails, and eight different wines -- all within a renovated 1920s building with a modern façade.

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15. Boulevardier 408 N Bishop Ave, Ste 108, Dallas, TX 75208 (Bishop Arts Dist)

This French-inspired Bistro uses its wood-fired grill to reinvent some classic dishes from across the pond. In addition to the grub, there's an expansive wine selection that includes more than 120 American and French varietals, as well as a large array of liquors including Whiskeys, Armagnacs and Cognacs.

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16. The Standard Pour 2900 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204 (Uptown)

This place is anything but standard, serving an outstanding variety of liquors, cocktails, wines, and beers, as well as delightful food options like their thyme and garlic chicken, lamb ravioli, and lobster nachos.



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